Monkey selfie at heart of photo rights spat

Last updated 14:47 07/08/2014
Sydney Morning Herald

A monkey's cheeky self portrait is in the heart of a legal battle over copyright claims.

monkey selfie
WHO'S A PRETTY BOY?: The self-portrait as it appears on the Wiki Commons site.

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A battle between man, media and monkey is being fought over the rights for a jungle selfie.
 
A snap-happy crested black macaque hijacked photographer David Slater's camera when he was photographing the endangered primates on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi in 2011.
 
A selection of selfies in which the monkey showed a range of emotions from gleeful to coy made it onto the Wikimedia Commons site, which has a collection images and video files which are free to download.
 
But Slater argued the photo is his and has started legal action against Wikimedia, Wikipedia's owner, for using the photo without his permission, The Daily Mail reported.
 
Wikimedia has refused to back down, saying the photo was taken by a non-human animal and therefore not subject to copyright.
 
"It's all based on a technicality. I own the photo but because the monkey pressed the trigger and took the photo, they're claiming the monkey owns the copyright," Slater said.
 
"There's a lot more to copyright than who pushes the trigger on the camera. I set up the shot, I was behind all the components in taking that image."
 
He said this has cost him "tens of thousands of pounds" in potential revenue.
 
"Nothing gives Wikimedia the right to decide who owns the copyright of the image and give people permission to use it for free, no court has decided that."

The monkey has taken the higher ground and remained quiet on the spat.

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